by MONITOR
THE Independent Police Complaints Commission have received more than 150 complaints from members of the public about the way in which the Metropolitan Police carried out its responsibilities during the G20 summit meeting in London at the end of March. While the outcome of the Commission's inquiries are awaited there was further evidence this week of the apparent breakdown of discipline in the Met when handling public protests. In October 2006 five demonstrators, two of them women, at the Mexican Embassy in London were arrested, handcuffed, held in police cells for 40 hours, denied bail and tried on public order offences at Westminster Magistrates Court. All five were acquitted and immediately began civil actions against the police for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and assault. This week, three years later, the Metropolitan Police issued an apology and agreed to pay 85'000 pounds damages. The apology from a senior Met officer included this: “It is accepted that your arrest was unlawful and that any force used on you during your arrest was therefore an assault and battery. You should not have been arrested and I apologise for this.” Why should it have taken three years for the matter to be settled? It would probably have been even longer if the case had not been due to go to the High Court in the near future and the Met decided to settle before that happened.